How do you create a sense of satisfaction in a story’s finale? The following books pull it off by covering the gamut of techniques—concluding with an important action or image, repeated text, dialogue, or one final word. Some come full circle with whole story reminders.
Reading aloud just the beginning and final sentences of each book allows students to feel the full impact of each type of ending.
Salma and the Syrian Chef, by Danny Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron, begins with Salma, in Vancouver, missing the rain in Syria. She longs to hear her mom’s laugh again, likening it to the sound of bicycle bells in the streets back home. She tries making a Syrian dish but her attempts to buy ingredients are thwarted by her lack of English. Salma “feels like an umbrella in a country with no rain,” so she draws her list of vegetables for the grocer instead. Then she draws a picture of her home, making it purple because “it’s okay to add new colours to my memories.” The final image in the book is that of a bike ride with her new friends (other refugees from the Welcome Centre), ringing their bells beneath a purple sky.
Richard Scarsbrook's latest novel is Rockets Versus Gravity. He tells us about the books he read in school who taught him how to write.
Students and interviewers often ask me to list the books that have influenced me the most as an author, and this is always one of the most difficult questions for me to answer, because everything I’ve read has affected me in one way or another, and if I try to list all of the writers whose work I currently admire, I’ll inevitably forget someone and feel badly about it later.
So, instead, I’ll name some books that I was required to read during my formative years, books that also made me want to write (although I suspect that I am still in my formative years; I’m still learning, anyway).
When I was in elementary school, I became obsessed with creating my own illustrated rhyming poems and stories, and one of the books responsible for this was Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie (“If I don’t get some, I think I’m gonna die!”). Although I don’t illustrate them anymore, and they rarely rhyme now, I still lo …